Apple’s new USB 3 Lightning SD Card reader brings photo imports to the iPhone

Apple’s recently updated Lightning to SD Card adapter is the easiest and most reliable way to import photos from your digital camera to the iPhone. While this has been possible before with WiFi SD cards, and newer cameras with built-in WiFi, the new SD card adapter is fast, easy to use, and allows you to shoot with any camera and share.iphone-sd-card-adapter-reader

The iPhone takes pretty good pictures when the light is good, but it simply does not compare to quality lenses and large sensors of DSLR and micro four-thirds cameras. If you have an iPhone 5 running iOS 9.2 or newer, you can make use of this new dongle. Previously, this adapter was an iPad exclusive, but with the release of the updated USB 3 capable adapter Apple quietly added iPhone support. The new adapter (available now) is Model A1595, item MJYT2AM/A and works with both iPhone and iPad.

Take your Instagram shots to the next level by using a proper camera and posting them right as you shoot.

The import process is very straight forward. Insert the SD card into the reader and plug it into the Lighting port of the iPhone/iPad. The Photos app will automatically launch and open the Import tab. From there you can browse your photos and select specific files to import, or choose to import the entire card. (Hint: you probably do not want to import the entire card to a 16GB iPhone) Once the photos are in your library you can share them to any social media app as if you took them with the iPhone/iPad.


The new adapter is labeled MJYT2AM/A Lightening to SD Card Camera Reader (USB 3). Make sure to get the USB 3 model when you are shopping to have iPhone compatibility. However, at the time of this post only the brand new iPad Pro supports USB 3 speeds, earlier devices will transfer at USB 2.0 speeds. For reference, I am able to import about 1 GB of photos/video per minute to an iPhone 6. 

Edit: The title was corrected to remove potential ambiguity. iOS supports importing media only, we have confirmed this feature does not allow exporting photos to the SD card.

  • Epic Tutorials

    If you want to see how much faster this is over the original USB 2.0 version – I have published a video benchmark test:

    3 x faster at 4k video import and 5 x faster for RAW photo import.